John H. Stoll, Ph.D.

I. Introduction:

1. This doctrine is basic to our understanding of God's way of Salvation.

2. The basis of Luther's doctrine was justification by faith.

3. Historically it arises out of God's dealings with Abraham (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Hebrews 11:8).

4. The Prophets gave it an important place in their teachings.

5. This doctrine is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ (John 3:18,36; 6:29).

6. In the Apostle Paul's writings the doctrine is fully developed:

7. Romans 3:24 provides in the text a fourfold outline:

II. The Fact of Justification---"Being Justified"

1. The word "Justify" means "righteous"

2. The meaning of the term, "Justification":

a. Negatively: it does not mean to make someone righteous. Luke 7:29 uses the same word, and one is not made righteous who is already righteous.

b. Positively: the word is used to declare and treat one as righteous. See: Deuteronomy 25:1---where the judges declared the innocent person righteous.

3. Thus, when God justifies the believing sinner, who is saved by God's grace, He declares that person righteous and treats him as righteous in His sight.

4. There were three problems facing God in justifying mankind:

a. The sinful character of all persons. It is not a problem to justify a righteous person, and if all were righteous there would be no problem, but the Bible teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

b. The non-relaxable character of the moral law. In the Old Testament God gave Israel the 10 Commandments, which they were to keep, and if broken would merit God's judgment. James 2:10 it states that if one breaks any one point of the law, he is guilty of breaking all, and incurring the judgment of God. The law of nature is the same; break it and you pay the penalty, regardless of how it was broken.

c. The holy and just character of God Himself. If God pulled down His standard to justify ungodly people, then He wouldn't be a Holy God. Thus in view of these three problems, it appears impossible for God to justify ungodly mankind. Yet it was not only a possibility, it has been accomplished.

II. The Manner of Justification---"Freely"

1. How can a holy God justify ungodly mankind?

2. The solution to the problem:

a. Negatively, it could not be on the basis of mankind's character, nor of his keeping the law, for he broke it. Also, it couldn't be on the basis of religious rites (See: Hebrews 10:1-4,11), nor on the basis of God's pity of people, because God's holiness would not allow it.

b. Positively, God was able to justify the believing sinner on the ground of that righteousness rendered to the moral law by Jesus Christ, when He paid the penalty for our sins upon the cross. (see: Romans 3:20-26).

3. Conclusion to God's manner of Justification:

a. There are two ways of satisfying the demands of the law; keep it, which no one has done, or, pay the penalty for breaking it, which if mankind had to do, it would take him all eternity to pay.

b. Why? Because sin against an infinite God is an infinite thing, and thus one must pay forever-infinity.

c. But, the reason Christ was able to pay the infinite debt of the whole world in a limited time, was because He was the infinite God.

IV. The Source of Our Justification---"By His Grace"

1. How does one receive Justification?

2. Thus, because of God's grace, we have received more than a pardon for our sins. We, as God's children, are treated by Him as though we had never sinned.

V. The Ground of Our Justification---"Redemption in Christ Jesus"

1. See: Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Romans 5:9.

2. "Redemption" means to deliver by paying a price. Christ delivered us from the judgment of God by paying the price of our sins upon the cross.

3. He purchased us with His own blood, and now God is free to Justify the believer, or declare one righteous. The result: See Hebrews 10:17, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more".

4. Christ freed us from the law of sin and death (Rom.8:2).

5. What is the guarantee of our Justification? Ans: It is guaranteed by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Romans 4:24,25; John 14:29; I Corinthians 15:19-23.

VI. Conclusion:

1. The SOURCE of our Justification is by His GRACE.

2. The GROUND of our Justification is by His BLOOD.

3. The MEANS of our Justification is by FAITH IN HIM.

4. The EVIDENCE of our Justification is by our WORKS.

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus hath bled & there is remission;

Cursed by the law & bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us, once for all.

Now are we free, there's no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect Salvation;

Come unto me, O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.

Children of God, O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep you from falling,

Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation, once for all.